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Wars of Conquest and Independence

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  • Roland Hodler
  • Hadi Yektas

Abstract

Wars of conquest and wars of independence are characterized by an asymmetric payoff structure: one party gets aggregate production if it wins, and its own production if it loses, while the other party gets only its own production if it wins, and nothing if it loses. We study a model of war with such an asymmetric payoff structure, and private information about military technologies. We characterize continuous equilibrium strategies and find that the party that gets aggregate production when winning fights aggressively only if its military technology is relatively good, while the other party fights quite aggressively even if its military technology is relatively poor. From an ex ante perspective, this other party is therefore more likely to win the war unless its expected military technology is considerably worse. Our model may thus explain why defending countries and secessionist groups often win against much larger opponents.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4282.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4282

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Keywords: conflict; war; asymmetric contests; private information;

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  1. Bester, Helmut & Konrad, Kai A., 2002. "Delay in contests," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance FS IV 02-20, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1990. "Arming as a Strategic Investment in a Cooperative Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 50-68, March.
  3. Hodler, Roland & YektaƟ, Hadi, 2012. "All-pay war," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 526-540.
  4. Dan Kovenock & Brian Roberson, 2010. "Conflicts with Multiple Battlefields," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1246, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
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  8. Meirowitz, Adam & Sartori, Anne E., 2008. "Strategic Uncertainty as a Cause of War," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 327-352, December.
  9. Amann, Erwin & Leininger, Wolfgang, 1996. "Asymmetric All-Pay Auctions with Incomplete Information: The Two-Player Case," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-18, May.
  10. Konrad, Kai A., 2009. "Strategy and Dynamics in Contests," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780199549603, October.
  11. Farmer, Amy & Pecorino, Paul, 1999. " Legal Expenditure as a Rent-Seeking Game," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(3-4), pages 271-88, September.
  12. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
  13. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  14. Jack Hirshleifer, 1991. "The Paradox Of Power," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 177-200, November.
  15. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Stergios Skaperdas, 2006. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Working Papers 050623, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2006.
  16. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
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